In March 2014, Russia annexed the Crimean Peninsula. Now, questioning the legitimacy of Russian control can land you five years in jail. Still, it's no accident that Russian elections will coincide with the anniversary of the annexation.
The Russian president plans to bring along a group of Cossack singers to the big event. But the fact he was even invited has left many scratching their heads.
Germany's Angela Merkel and France's Emmanuel Macron stressed the need for a "coordinated European solution" to migrant arrivals from the Mediterranean. They also voiced concern for the humanitarian situation in Syria.
Vladimir Putin is coming to Germany on Saturday to discuss Syria, Ukraine and the Nord Stream 2 pipeline with Angela Merkel. But what can the two long-serving leaders hope to say that they haven't said before?
NATO says its 40,000-troop "Trident Juncture" exercises to be spearheaded by a German brigade, will proceed in Norway in October. Russia was briefed about the maneuvers near its border by NATO ambassadors last May.
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